My new worst fear of all

So, apparently a guy I went to high school with has gone blind. A hereditary thing, but still a terrifying thing nonetheless.

Because I was a morbid type of teen with too much time on my hands, I used to like to ponder things like whether I would rather lose my sight or my hearing. I was hardcore into music at the time, and I never could decide.

Today, I would much rather be deaf than blind. Being blind would be incredibly limiting – I don’t know that I could work, really – and I’d lose the ability to read, my most favourite thing in the world. I’d be dependent on others around me, financially and in pretty much every other way.the biggest fear - my biggest fear is going blind. photo - eye reflection

That said, I have pretty terrible eyesight as it is, and my bad vision does not come cheap. Basic lenses cost $200 these days, and you can double or triple that for the thinner lenses that higher prescriptions require. (How high is mine? I’d almost rather tell you my bra size, so embarrassing is it.)

The worsening seems to have slowed, with my latest test showing changes mostly in my degree of astigmatism. This explains a LOT, like why I naturally lift my head when I’m straining to see something, or why the middle letters on the vision test were blurrier than those on the outside edges. I have fucked up curvature, let me tell you – one eye is 170 and the other at 2. I asked my optometrist why that might have changed, and she basically told me it was a mix of nature and nurture – genes and environment. My mother is also astigmatic, and I do a buttload of computer work – 8 hours plus a day due to work and play (probably close to 12 hours some days when I have a lot of freelance work on).

This summer, I went to relax outside on the deck one sunny afternoon, an aspiration cut short when I freaked out at the realisation there was a black spot dancing across the blazing red field of my closed eyes. One that didn’t dissipate no matter how much I blinked and that moved when my eyes moved. Some Google searches later, I resigned myself to the fact that this floater was yet another sign of aging and will be with me forever. My little friend was initially only really visible against light backgrounds, but now if I concentrate, I can sometimes see it against busier backdrops. Sometimes I freak myself out first thing in the morning thinking I can see a whole army of floaters, one resembling a flock of migratory swallows on the move. I’m pretty sure I’m imagining those.

My optometrist tells me I need to watch out for flashes of light, and get myself to a hospital quicksmart to avoid retina detachment and loss of sight. Heinous ex flatmate, the one who owes me nearly a grand, underwent a similar surgery some time ago. Now, there’s a part of me convinced the very worst is going to happen.

11 thoughts on “My new worst fear of all

  • Reply kara February 7, 2013 at 07:59

    Going blind (or really damaging my eyes in any way) is one of my biggest fears – not just for the loss of independence it would mean, but also because my side job is photography and I can’t even imagine never being able to photograph anything again.

    I also have hideous vision (-7 in one eye and -7.5 in the other), although minimal astigmatism. However this year I turned 45 and was introduced to the joy of reading/computer glasses by my optometrist. *sigh* So now I wear contacts for distance vision and have reading glasses on top of them.

    I’ve had floaters as long as I can remember, though, so they don’t bother me much any more. Some days they’re more prevalent than others and I notice them most when I go outside on a bright day and don’t wear good sunglasses. If I’m careful about shading my eyes, they don’t bother me at all.

    All that to say – I sympathise! 🙂

  • Reply Suba February 7, 2013 at 09:48

    Before I had my LASIK I was practically blind. Even now I don’t have a perfect eye sight because apparently I am not blinking enough(?!). And to top that off due to my health issues I am popping drugs as if there is no tomorrow and one of the (many) side effects is deafness. I am not totally deaf, but I only have 40% hearing in one ear and 50% in the other. The doctor suggested I start using hearing aid, but somehow I am not able to bring myself to do that. Eye sight is one of the major gifts we have, take care of it.

    • Reply eemusings February 7, 2013 at 10:26

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 Health really is precious, and I know I don’t treasure mine enough as a young and healthy person.

  • Reply The Asian Pear February 7, 2013 at 10:24

    I agree I think vision is the most needed sense in today’s day an age. My Mom has HORRIBLE eyesight. So bad that she needed laser treatment twice to slow the eye tissue from degenerating. My Dad has good eyesight. Growing up I alwways feared getting bad eyesight genes from Mom. Thankfully, into my 30s, and I still got 20/20 vision.

  • Reply Stephany February 7, 2013 at 11:02

    Hearing about people going blind (especially when they’re young!) always terrifies me. I would rather go deaf than go blind, because I feel like you lose so much independence when you go blind. But then again, I guess life is what you make of it because a blind chef won MasterChef USA last year!

    I have pretty awful eyesight and developed an astigmatism a few years ago (which means now I get the added joy of more expensive contacts) but they haven’t gotten worse since my last few check-ups thankfully.

  • Reply mochiandmacarons February 7, 2013 at 12:00

    I agree. Deaf over blind.

    As for awful eyesight — I have the same issue. I was told to look out for flashes, floating bits, and to wear my contacts as little as possible.

  • Reply Cassie February 7, 2013 at 12:39

    I dated a guy in university who was almost completely blind in one eye, and had very bad vision in another. He had a retinal detachment issue that started when he finished high school, and they caught the one eye early enough that they could save a portion of his vision in it. The other not so much. I never really thought about it before, but he was really into concerts. Maybe he compensated for his lack of sight by enjoying things that didn’t require it?

  • Reply Manda February 7, 2013 at 13:03

    My eyesight isn’t bad thankfully, but I’m conscious of the fact that it could get worse as it’s not 20/20. G’s eyesight is horrible – one time when he was at my apartment, he stood in the hallway in front of my door and my roommate’s door and was like “Wait, where is Manda and which one is her room?” (My roommate was in her room on her bed, I was behind him. Both of our room doors were open.) Luckily the three of us are all friends and thought it was hysterical, but the fact that his vision is that bad also really scares me.

  • Reply krantcents February 7, 2013 at 14:32

    I was diagnosed with glaucoma a couple years ago. If untreated I will slowly go blind. I am being treated and it is under control. My first thought after the diagnosis is there is not much need for a blind computer teacher! The next My doctor explained there are lots of things that can be done and he started me with drops. The key as most diseases is catching it early.

  • Reply Sense February 7, 2013 at 16:34

    Yeah, SCARY!!! Going blind was one of the potential outcomes I considered when thinking about LASIK, then just opted for the ortho-K. Much less worry, although that (and all contacts, really) comes with the threat of acanthamoeba, little bugs that colonize your eyes and cause blindness (don’t EVER use tap water to clean things your contacts come in contact with!). Freaked me right out.

    I also get optical migraines, and those are accompanied with narrowing tunnel vision to near blindness, with zig-zag flashing lights crossing my field of vision, even with my eyes closed. The first time I got one of those–OMG, I thought I was going blind and my retina was detaching!! It was so incredibly frightening. Luckily, I only get one of those maybe once or twice a year now when really stressed or tired, and I know how to deal with them (go lie down in a quiet room with my eyes closed for 30 minutes, pop a few advil). I used to get them 2-3 times a week when I was on Yaz birth control. I don’t think that was very healthy…

    The only thing that calms me now is that the eye doc always tells me I have insanely healthy eyes, despite my computer habits and terrible astigmatism.

  • Reply Shannon @ The Heavy Purse February 8, 2013 at 12:25

    I don’t know if I can pick – deaf or blind. Deaf-I couldn’t hear my girls say I love you. Blind-I couldn’t see their beautiful faces. No win situation. I’m sorry you’re going through this, but hopefully you’ll doctor will see you through this. No pun intended. 🙂

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